Posts for: June, 2018
Ear infections can be quite the nuisance, particularly if it’s something that your little one deals with often. While anyone can develop ear infections, babies and young children are at an increased risk for ear infections. Since children’s Eustachian tubes (a structure that connects the middle ear with the pharynx, the cavity that lies behind the nose and mouth) aren’t fully developed it makes it easier for factors such as a common cold to lead to blocked Eustachian tubes and ear infections.
If there is a family history of ear infections, if your child is exposed to secondhand smoke or if your child develops colds and flus regularly then they may be at an increased risk for an ear infection. The most common types of ear infections are a middle ear infection, swimmer’s ear (which affects the outer ear canal), and labyrinthitis (causes inflammation of the inner ear or nerves of the inner ear).
Of course, babies and toddlers won’t be able to tell you that they are experiencing ear pain; however, there are other signs to look out for, including:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Drainage coming from the ear
- Increased irritability or crying more often
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Lack of energy
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to take them in to see their pediatrician. Of course, if your child is often dealing with recurring or severe ear infections, visiting an otolaryngologist might be the best medical professional to help you figure out what’s causing these frequent infections and how to put a stop to them.
Of course, adults may also face ear infections. You may wake up in the middle of the night with an ear that is throbbing and painful. If this is the case, turning to an ENT doctor can help alleviate your symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of you or your little one’s ear infection, an ENT specialist will tell you whether or not antibiotics will be necessary for fighting the infection.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying a warm compress to the ear can also help you manage your discomfort until the ear infection goes away. Leaving an ear infection untreated is never a good idea, as it can lead to complications such as hearing loss. This is why it’s important that you or your child receive the proper medical attention necessary if you suspect an ear infection.
Snoring and sleep apnea can affect the quality of your sleep and may even increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, treatment options offered by ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors can help. Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL helps patients affected by snoring, sleep apnea and other conditions breathe (and sleep) easier.
How can I tell if I need treatment?
Nearly everyone snores at some point, although some of us would rather not admit it. Occasional snoring isn't a problem, particularly if you're sick or a little congested. Snoring only becomes a health issue when it's associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes fully or partially blocked while you sleep, causing pauses in your breathing. The blockage can occur if your throat falls back against your throat or if the walls of your throat become so relaxed that they close completely.
Luckily, your body leaps in high alert when it detects that you've stopped breathing and prompts you to take a breath. Gasping or choking isn't the most comfortable way to be woken, but it does restart your breathing very effectively. Other possible signs of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, dry mouth, sore throat, weight gain or headaches.
What treatments are available in the Chicago area?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are often used to relieve snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. CPAP machines force a steady flow of air into your throat, preventing the airway from becoming blocked. Although the machines definitely work, your machine is not as helpful if you don't use it because you find it too uncomfortable or loud.
Oral appliance therapy offers another option if you don't like CPAP machines or are looking for a more low-tech option. It is also sometimes used in conjunction with CPAP treatment. The appliance fits over your teeth and keeps your airway open by holding your jaw forward, which prevents your tongue from falling back into your throat. The device is custom-made to fit your mouth, ensuring a comfortable fit while you sleep.
Snoring and sleep apnea treatment can improve your sleep and your health. Call ENT specialist Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL at (312) 988-7777 to schedule your appointment.
Maybe you didn’t even notice it but other members of your family pointed out the fact that you need to blast the TV in order to hear it or that you have to asked people to repeat themselves quite often. If people often sound like they are mumbling or difficult to understand then you could be dealing with hearing loss. Approximately 48 million Americans deal with some degree of hearing loss. If you are part of this statistic then it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist you can trust.
While you may not realize it, an ENT doctor is exactly the specialist you want on your side to not only diagnose your hearing loss but also to provide the hearing aid you need to improve your hearing. While a hearing aid is not designed to restore hearing it can help amplify certain sounds to make hearing much easier.
There are a variety of different hearing aid options available to you, and the style you choice will really depend on your goals, lifestyle, degree of hearing loss, budget and any special features you are looking for. Common hearing aids styles include:
Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC): Just as the name suggests, this style of hearing aid is placed deep within the ear canal so it’s completely invisible. It’s a great option for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC): Also good for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, this style will allow the hearing aid to be completely invisible within the ear canal. The only difference is that a clear tab on the hearing aid is used to place and remove it.
In-the-Canal (ITC): A small portion of this hearing aid is visible but it is flesh-colored so it won’t be obvious to those around you. It’s a great style for those dealing with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-Ear (ITE): This style is also capable of handling a wide variety of hearing loss, from mild to severe. This hearing aid is custom-made to fit the outer area of the ear rather than sitting within the ear canal.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC): This allows the speaker to sit within the ear canal where it is out of sight; however, the speaker is connected to the amplifier (which sits behind the ear) by wires rather than tubing. It’s a discreet option for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This type of hearing aid allows the speaker to lie hidden within the ear canal. The speaker is attached to a clear, thin tube that is connected to the amplifier, which sits behind the ear. This is a great option for those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.
It’s important to find the right hearing aid to fit your unique needs, and an ENT doctor can provide you with the quality hearing aid you’re looking for so that you can be part of the conversation again.